Educator Edition: 4-1-24

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An update from Academic Standards, Instruction and Assessment

Vol. 2, No. 8: April 1, 2024

Updates From MDE

Learning Progressions for 2020 K–12 English Language Arts Standards

Districts and schools across Minnesota are moving through the 2020 Minnesota English Language Arts (ELA) Implementation Timeline to transition to the 2020 K–12 ELA Standards, with full implementation in the 2025–26 school year. To support implementation of the revised standards, MDE has developed a series of learning progressions for each of the three ELA strands: Reading; Writing; and Listening, Speaking, Viewing and Exchanging Ideas. Learning progressions in the vertical format show the standards, organized by strand, with their corresponding grade-level benchmarks for grades K–12. These learning progressions allow teachers, school leaders and administrators, and parents and caregivers to see what students should be learning in their grade level in relation to the grade levels above and below.

To view and download the 2020 K–12 ELA Learning Progressions, visit the MDE English Language Arts webpage.

Series 1 of the ELA implementation webinar series includes a webinar about learning progressions and how they can be used by districts, schools, and teachers to intentionally plan and enact a continuum of learning. You can view the recorded webinar and the corresponding PowerPoint slides, as well as additional implementation supports, on the ELA Implementation webpage.

Additional content areas that have developed learning progression resources include Physical Education, the Arts, Science, and Math:

Math has developed three sources of support for learning progressions: 1) a document of the 2007 K–12 Math Standards in a learning progression format, 2) a video that demonstrates how to use and apply the Math learning progressions (many of the ideas shared can be applied to any subject), and 3) a series of silent animated videos displaying four different learning progressions of the mathematics content from kindergarten through high school. Learning progressions for the 2022 K–12 Math Standards are in development.

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Survey on Arts Education from Arts Board

In the past weeks, curriculum directors received a survey sent on behalf of the Minnesota State Arts Board. The Minnesota State Arts Board is a state agency that helps make arts available to all Minnesotans. It provides grants to artists and organizations to achieve this, including funding arts education both inside and outside of school settings. With this survey, it is seeking to understand what types of arts experiences are offered across the state and to what extent they have an impact on students.

The survey was emailed from via SurveyMonkey with the subject “Complete statewide survey about students’ arts experiences on behalf of your district!” If you haven’t completed it, we encourage you to do so. The survey closes on April 8. If you are a curriculum director and did not receive this survey, please reach out to Kara to request it.

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Personal Finance Working Group

In support of the personal finance legislation passed in the 2023 legislative session, MDE put out an application for a Personal Finance Working Group. The working groups responsibility is to develop guidance to support districts and schools in implementing the personal finance graduation requirement. The working group will include social studies, math, business education, family and consumer science, and agriculture, food and natural resources teachers, recent high school graduates, current Minnesota school administrators, and pre-service program faculty. Dates for the working group can be found in the Personal Finance Working Group Assumptions. The working group members are listed in the 2023 Personal Finance Working Group Member document.

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Invitation for Science Item Writers 2024

Are you interested in a unique opportunity to engage with teachers from around the state about how to capture student learning of the new science standards? MDE is inviting science educators to apply to be part of the Science MCA-IV Item Writer Training in Summer 2024. The training will be 4 1/2 days total, with approximately 15–20 additional hours independently needed to complete the writing assignments. The 2024 item writer training will be focused on writing engaging grade-level phenomena and questions tied to the 2019 Minnesota Science Standards, with the goal to generate creative thinking and to engage unique teaching approaches to build a repository of phenomena and questions for the Science MCA-IV.

Schedule and Process Details

Attend required training/work days (all virtual):

  • June 21 (half-day)
  • July 8–9
  • July 29–30

Work independently to complete two phenomenon-based scenarios with 7–8 questions for each phenomenon by Aug. 12.

Benefits for Educators

  • Build a robust understanding of and diverse perspectives on the 2019 Science standards.
  • Offer insights to the creation of quality assessments that impact 60,000 students per grade.
  • Expand creative thinking while developing engaging grade-level phenomena and item ideas.
  • Learn skills and practices that support strong classroom assessment.
  • Collaborate with Science colleagues from across Minnesota.
  • Earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs).
  • Receive monetary participation compensation.

If you are interested in being part of this Science MCA-IV Item Writer Training, please complete the Science MCA-IV Item Writer Training survey form by April 27. Selected writers will be contacted May 3–7. Writers will be chosen based on grade-level and content-area writing needs, as well as experience in developing assessments. Please contact Science Assessment Specialists Jim Wood (651-582-8541), or Judi Iverson (651-582-8651), for more information or if assistance is needed completing the form.

MDE encourages any teachers and educators interested in becoming a science item writer to apply. MDE wants to grow the impact teachers have on our Science MCA-IV assessment and look forward to engaging with more teachers around the state. If you have colleagues who might be interested in participating, please send them this information.

Another way to be involved in Science MCA development is to register to participate in MCA Educator Review Committees. Your input is vital in the development of items to the new science standards. We are always looking for more educators to become involved in the review process. This opportunity is open to science, math, language arts, EL and special education teachers.

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Upcoming Minnesota Department of Education Working Groups

Working groups are instrumental in the work at Minnesota Department of Education (MDE). This summer there are going to be three working groups. Working groups must follow a process of applying, agree to the guiding assumptions, time commitment, and accept becoming a member. The three working groups that will be held beginning Spring/Summer 2024 include:

  • MDE Personal Finance Working Group
  • MDE Ethnic Studies Working Group
  • MDE Education on the Holocaust, Genocide of Indigenous Peoples, and Other Genocides Working Group

The working groups are comprised of the following membership:

  • As noted above, MDE Personal Finance Working Group has been formed. The list of appointed members can be located at 2023 Personal Finance Working Group Member document.
  • MDE Ethnic Studies working group application closed on March 22 and the members were selected comprised of teachers with experience teaching Ethnic Studies to students in kindergarten to grade 8, parents or guardians of public kindergarten through grade 12 students, Ethnic studies high school teachers, school board members or school administrators (including curriculum directors or directors of teaching and learning), Minnesota-based college-level faculty experts in ethnic studies, public school students in grades 11 and 12 in either the 2023–24 or 2024–25 school year, and community members with a demonstrated commitment to ethnic studies or education about Minnesota’s racial, ethnic, religious, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or cultural diversity.
  • MDE Holocaust, Genocide of Indigenous Peoples and Other Genocides working group application closed on March 22 and the members were selected, comprised of a middle and high school social studies and English language arts teachers, pre-service teacher education program faculty with expertise in relevant topics, university faculty with related academic expertise, and representatives of Minnesota-based nonprofit organizations, community groups, and sovereign nations whose missions include educating about and honoring the victims and survivors of displacement, genocide, and mass violence.

Below are the guiding assumptions for the working group members:

While the working group meetings are currently planned to be in-person, meeting format and/or dates below are subject to change:

Personal Finance:

  • June 11–12
  • Aug. 20–21
  • Oct. 29

Ethnic Studies:

  • April 15
  • April 16
  • May 14
  • June 25
  • Aug. 27
  • Sept. 10
  • Sept. 24

Education on the Holocaust, Genocide of Indigenous Peoples, and Other Genocides Working Group:

  • April 30
  • Sept. 17
  • Nov. 19
  • Jan. 14, 2025
  • March 4, 2025
  • May 6, 2025
  • Aug. 19, 2025

Starting in September, public comment will start for some of the working groups. Additional information can be found on the Academic Standards website, in the Educator Edition, and Superintendent mailer.

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Upcoming Opportunities

Summer Arts Education PD

What: Arts educators will have multiple opportunities to deepen learning in culturally responsive and equity-focused arts education this summer. These opportunities are made possible in part by a U.S. Department of Education Assistance for Arts Education grant. Offerings will include Native Arts Institute and Cohort, Culturally Responsive Arts Curriculum Institute and Cohort, Muslim Youth Voice In Arts Education: Institute and Community Conversation and more.

How: Please visit MDE’s Culturally Responsive Arts Education page for more details and registration information, which will be released in April and May.

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Student Role in Assessment for Learning Webinar Series

What: The MDE COMPASS team and WestEd will be hosting a webinar series around the student role in assessment for learning that will engage participants in learning around this topic and introduce further opportunities provided by MDE. This webinar series is ideal for grades K–12 teachers, coaches, and leaders seeking professional learning opportunities around student-focused instruction and assessment for learning.

When: Part 1: April 2, 10–11 a.m. or April 3, 11–noon; Part 2: April 9, 10–11 a.m. or April 11, 11–noon.

How: Register for one session for part 1, and one session for part 2 via the links above.

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Formative Assessment and Student Agency in Learning Network Series

What: The MDE COMPASS team is hosting a small prototype of a learning network to explore formative assessment and student agency. The learning sessions are ideal for school and district leaders and instructional coaches who are interested in deepening their formative assessment knowledge, and ways in which to cultivate learning environments that support assessment for learning and promote student agency. The prototype learning sessions are an effort to build capacity and knowledge to strengthen Minnesota’s statewide implementation support for formative assessment and student-centered instruction.

When: Session 1: March 20, 11 a.m.–noon; Session 2: April 10, 1–2 p.m.; Session 3: May 8, 1–2 p.m.

How: Register for Learning Network Series

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Supporting Positive Psychosocial Development of Students with Gifts and Talents

What: This virtual workshop will be presented by Tracy L. Cross, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology and Gifted Education, and Executive Director of the W&M Center for Gifted Education and the Institute for Research on the Suicide of Gifted Students and Jennifer Riedl Cross, Ph.D., Director of Research at the William & Mary Center for Gifted Education.

When: April 18, 12:30–2:30 p.m.

How: Registration is free and restricted to educators, administrators, psychologists and counselors. Register for the Supporting Positive Psychosocial Development of Students with Gifts and Talents Workshop. The workshop will be recorded and access provided to all registrants following the event.

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Curriculum Directors Virtual Session

What: The Academic Standards team at MDE will be hosting two Curriculum Directors Virtual Sessions in the spring. New and experienced Curriculum Directors are welcome to attend either session as the same information will be provided at each. The virtual sessions are not recorded and CEUs will not be provided as these sessions are additional support rather than a training.

When: May 14, 7:30–8:30 a.m. and 4–5 p.m.

How: Curriculum Directors must register for the Zoom virtual sessions. Choose either the 7:30–8:30 a.m. Curriculum Directors webinar or the 4–5 p.m. Curriculum Directors webinar to register.

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Alternate Assessment Coffee Break Series

What: Meet with Academic Standards, Instruction and Assessment Division staff and MTAS test administrators and special education staff who administer the MTAS to give feedback and ask questions.

Why: Discuss MTAS Administration questions, share your feedback and connect with other special education staff from across the state.

When: April 9, 4–5 p.m., and ongoing second Tuesdays of each month.

Where: Via Zoom.

How: Register for the coffee break


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Hormel Gifted and Talented Education Symposium

What: An opportunity for educators, counselors, administrators and psychologists to gain greater understanding of the needs of gifted and high potential learners. The symposium is a collaboration between the Hormel Foundation, Austin Public Schools, and the Minnesota Department of Education. Each day of the Symposium features a keynote speaker and a multitude of breakout sessions covering such diverse topics Talent Development in a Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS), Fostering Excellence: The Role of Strengths-Based Education with Diverse Learners, and Addressing the Instructional Needs of Gifted Multilingual Learners. Registration is $225. Gifted and Talented Education Revenue, Title II, Title IVA and other funding may be used to fund participation.

When: June 11–13

Where: Austin High School

How: Visit the Gifted and Talented Symposium website to learn more and register.

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Important Ideas and Research

What are the Eight Standards of Mathematical Practice in the new 2022 Math Standards?

The 2022 Minnesota Math Standards include Eight Standards of Mathematical Practice (listed on pages 6, 115–118). While these eight practices are new to the 2022 Minnesota math standards, they are not new in the national math community. In 2010 most states adopted the eight practices as part of their state standards. These practices describe the behaviors and habits of mind that are exhibited by students who are mathematically proficient. Mathematical understanding is the intersection of these practices and mathematics content. It is critical that the Standards for Mathematical Practice are embedded in daily mathematics instruction:

MP1: Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.

MP2: Reason abstractly and quantitatively.

MP3: Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.

MP4: Model with mathematics.

MP5: Use appropriate tools strategically.

MP6: Attend to precision.

MP7: Look for and make use of structure.

MP8: Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning.

These practices rest on important “processes and proficiencies” with longstanding importance in mathematics education. The first of these are the NCTM process standards of problem solving, reasoning and proof, communication, representation, and connections. The second are the strands of mathematical proficiency specified in the National Research Council’s report Adding It Up: adaptive reasoning, strategic competence, conceptual understanding (comprehension of mathematical concepts, operations and relations), procedural fluency (skill in carrying out procedures flexibly, accurately, efficiently and appropriately), and productive disposition (habitual inclination to see mathematics as sensible, useful, and worthwhile, coupled with a belief in diligence and one’s own efficacy).

The Standards for Mathematical Practice describe ways in which developing student practitioners of the discipline of mathematics increasingly ought to engage with the subject matter as they grow in mathematical maturity and expertise throughout the elementary, middle and high school years. Designers of curricula, assessments, and professional development should all attend to the need to connect the mathematical practices to mathematical content in mathematics instruction.

All benchmarks in the 2022 Minnesota Math Standards have one or two math practices linked to the end of the benchmark.  Although all eight math practices should be developed simultaneously in all instruction, the Minnesota Math Standards each list one or two math practices at the end of the benchmark that might be specifically highlighted in instruction. For example: 2022 Math Benchmark includes MP1: Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them. Compare and order unit fractions using visual models and describe how the size of the fraction changes as the denominator changes. (MP1, MP7)

In the classroom this may take the form of math talks to allow students to develop the skills to struggle with and explain their reasoning as seen in this video clip.

The Charles A. Dana Center is one of many sites with resources to learn more about the eight math practices.  For more video clips from the Dana Center click the link for the Math Practice that interests you. MP1, MP2, MP3, MP4, MP5, MP6, MP7, MP8.

For more information, contact Sara Vanderwerf, Mathematics specialist, Academic Standards, Instruction and Assessment Division.

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Division of Academic Standards, Instruction and Assessment

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